Text: S.3178 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Engrossed in Senate (12/19/2018)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
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[S. 3178 Engrossed in Senate (ES)]

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115th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                S. 3178

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
    To amend title 18, United States Code, to specify lynching as a 
          deprivation of civil rights, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Justice for Victims of Lynching Act 
of 2018''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) The crime of lynching succeeded slavery as the ultimate 
        expression of racism in the United States following 
        Reconstruction.
            (2) Lynching was a widely acknowledged practice in the 
        United States until the middle of the 20th century.
            (3) Lynching was a crime that occurred throughout the 
        United States, with documented incidents in all but 4 States.
            (4) At least 4,742 people, predominantly African Americans, 
        were reported lynched in the United States between 1882 and 
        1968.
            (5) Ninety-nine percent of all perpetrators of lynching 
        escaped from punishment by State or local officials.
            (6) Lynching prompted African Americans to form the 
        National Association for the Advancement of Colored People 
        (referred to in this section as the ``NAACP'') and prompted 
        members of B'nai B'rith to found the Anti-Defamation League.
            (7) Mr. Walter White, as a member of the NAACP and later as 
        the executive secretary of the NAACP from 1931 to 1955, 
        meticulously investigated lynchings in the United States and 
        worked tirelessly to end segregation and racialized terror.
            (8) Nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in 
        Congress during the first half of the 20th century.
            (9) Between 1890 and 1952, 7 Presidents petitioned Congress 
        to end lynching.
            (10) Between 1920 and 1940, the House of Representatives 
        passed 3 strong anti-lynching measures.
            (11) Protection against lynching was the minimum and most 
        basic of Federal responsibilities, and the Senate considered 
        but failed to enact anti-lynching legislation despite repeated 
        requests by civil rights groups, Presidents, and the House of 
        Representatives to do so.
            (12) The publication of ``Without Sanctuary: Lynching 
        Photography in America'' helped bring greater awareness and 
        proper recognition of the victims of lynching.
            (13) Only by coming to terms with history can the United 
        States effectively champion human rights abroad.
            (14) An apology offered in the spirit of true repentance 
        moves the United States toward reconciliation and may become 
        central to a new understanding, on which improved racial 
        relations can be forged.
            (15) Having concluded that a reckoning with our own history 
        is the only way the country can effectively champion human 
        rights abroad, 90 Members of the United States Senate agreed to 
        Senate Resolution 39, 109th Congress, on June 13, 2005, to 
        apologize to the victims of lynching and the descendants of 
        those victims for the failure of the Senate to enact anti-
        lynching legislation.
            (16) The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which 
        opened to the public in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 26, 2018, 
        is the Nation's first memorial dedicated to the legacy of 
        enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African 
        Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and 
        people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of 
        guilt and police violence.
            (17) Notwithstanding the Senate's apology and the 
        heightened awareness and education about the Nation's legacy 
        with lynching, it is wholly necessary and appropriate for the 
        Congress to enact legislation, after 100 years of unsuccessful 
        legislative efforts, finally to make lynching a Federal crime.
            (18) Further, it is the sense of Congress that criminal 
        action by a group increases the likelihood that the criminal 
        object of that group will be successfully attained and 
        decreases the probability that the individuals involved will 
        depart from their path of criminality. Therefore, it is 
        appropriate to specify criminal penalties for the crime of 
        lynching, or any attempt or conspiracy to commit lynching.
            (19) The United States Senate agreed to unanimously Senate 
        Resolution 118, 115th Congress, on April 5, 2017, 
        ``[c]ondemning hate crime and any other form of racism, 
        religious or ethnic bias, discrimination, incitement to 
        violence, or animus targeting a minority in the United States'' 
        and taking notice specifically of Federal Bureau of 
        Investigation statistics demonstrating that ``among single-bias 
        hate crime incidents in the United States, 59.2 percent of 
        victims were targeted due to racial, ethnic, or ancestral bias, 
        and among those victims, 52.2 percent were victims of crimes 
        motivated by the offenders' anti-Black or anti-African American 
        bias''.
            (20) On September 14, 2017, President Donald J. Trump 
        signed into law Senate Joint Resolution 49 (Public Law 115-58; 
        131 Stat. 1149), wherein Congress ``condemn[ed] the racist 
        violence and domestic terrorist attack that took place between 
        August 11 and August 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia'' 
        and ``urg[ed] the President and his administration to speak out 
        against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, 
        anti-Semitism, and White supremacy; and use all resources 
        available to the President and the President's Cabinet to 
        address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the 
        United States''.
            (21) Senate Joint Resolution 49 (Public Law 115-58; 131 
        Stat. 1149) specifically took notice of ``hundreds of torch-
        bearing White nationalists, White supremacists, Klansmen, and 
        neo-Nazis [who] chanted racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-
        immigrant slogans and violently engaged with counter-
        demonstrators on and around the grounds of the University of 
        Virginia in Charlottesville'' and that these groups 
        ``reportedly are organizing similar events in other cities in 
        the United States and communities everywhere are concerned 
        about the growing and open display of hate and violence being 
        perpetrated by those groups''.

SEC. 3. LYNCHING.

    (a) Offense.--Chapter 13 of title 18, United States Code, is 
amended by adding at the end the following:
``Sec. 250. Lynching
    ``(a) In General.--
            ``(1) Offenses involving actual or perceived race, color, 
        religion, or national origin.--If 2 or more persons willfully 
        cause bodily injury to any other person, because of the actual 
        or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any 
        person--
                    ``(A) each shall be imprisoned not more than 10 
                years, fined in accordance with this title, or both, if 
                bodily injury results from the offense; or
                    ``(B) each shall be imprisoned for any term of 
                years or for life, fined in accordance with this title, 
                or both, if death results from the offense or if the 
                offense includes kidnapping or aggravated sexual abuse.
            ``(2) Offenses involving actual or perceived religion, 
        national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, 
        or disability.--
                    ``(A) In general.--If 2 or more persons, in any 
                circumstance described in subparagraph (B), willfully 
                cause bodily injury to any other person because of the 
                actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, 
                sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of 
                any person--
                            ``(i) each shall be imprisoned not more 
                        than 10 years, fined in accordance with this 
                        title, or both, if bodily injury results from 
                        the offense; or
                            ``(ii) each shall be imprisoned for any 
                        term of years or for life, fined in accordance 
                        with this title, or both, if death results from 
                        the offense or if the offense includes 
                        kidnapping or aggravated sexual abuse.
                    ``(B) Circumstances described.--For purposes of 
                subparagraph (A), the circumstances described in this 
                subparagraph are that--
                            ``(i) the conduct described in subparagraph 
                        (A) occurs during the course of, or as the 
                        result of, the travel of the defendant or the 
                        victim--
                                    ``(I) across a State line or 
                                national border; or
                                    ``(II) using a phone, the internet, 
                                the mail, or any other channel, 
                                facility, or instrumentality of 
                                interstate or foreign commerce;
                            ``(ii) the defendant uses a phone, the 
                        internet, the mail, or any other channel, 
                        facility, or instrumentality of interstate or 
                        foreign commerce in connection with the conduct 
                        described in subparagraph (A);
                            ``(iii) in connection with the conduct 
                        described in subparagraph (A), the defendant 
                        employs a firearm, dangerous weapon, explosive 
                        or incendiary device, or other weapon that has 
                        traveled in interstate or foreign commerce; or
                            ``(iv) the conduct described in 
                        subparagraph (A)--
                                    ``(I) interferes with commercial or 
                                other economic activity in which the 
                                victim is engaged at the time of the 
                                conduct;
                                    ``(II) otherwise affects interstate 
                                or foreign commerce; or
                                    ``(III) occurs within the special 
                                maritime or territorial jurisdiction of 
                                the United States.
            ``(3) Offenses occurring in the special maritime or 
        territorial jurisdiction of the united states.--Whoever, within 
        the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United 
        States, engages in conduct described in paragraph (1) or in 
        paragraph (2)(A) (without regard to whether that conduct 
        occurred in a circumstance described in paragraph (2)(B)) shall 
        be subject to the same penalties as prescribed in those 
        paragraphs.
    ``(b) Attempt.--Whoever attempts to commit any offense under this 
section--
            ``(1) shall be imprisoned for not more than 10 years, fined 
        in accordance with this title, or both; or
            ``(2) if the offense includes kidnapping or an attempt to 
        kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit 
        aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be 
        imprisoned for any term of years of for life, fined in 
        accordance with this title, or both.
    ``(c) Conspiracy.--If 2 or more persons conspire to commit any 
offense under this section, and 1 or more of such persons do any act to 
effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be subject to the same 
penalties as those prescribed for the offense the commission of which 
was the object of the conspiracy.
    ``(d) Certification Requirement.--
            ``(1) In general.--No prosecution of any offense described 
        in this section may be undertaken by the United States, except 
        under the certification in writing of the Attorney General, or 
        a designee, that--
                    ``(A) the State does not have jurisdiction;
                    ``(B) the State has requested that the Federal 
                Government assume jurisdiction;
                    ``(C) the verdict or sentence obtained pursuant to 
                State charges left demonstratively unvindicated the 
                Federal interest in eradicating bias-motivated 
                violence; or
                    ``(D) a prosecution by the United States is in the 
                public interest and necessary to secure substantial 
                justice.
            ``(2) Rule of construction.--Nothing in this subsection 
        shall be construed to limit the authority of Federal officers, 
        or a Federal grand jury, to investigate possible violations of 
        this section.''.
    (b) Table of Sections Amendment.--The table of sections for chapter 
13 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the 
item relating to section 249 the following:

``250. Lynching.''.

            Passed the Senate December 19, 2018.

            Attest:

                                                             Secretary.
115th CONGRESS

  2d Session

                                S. 3178

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT

    To amend title 18, United States Code, to specify lynching as a 
          deprivation of civil rights, and for other purposes.